Call of the Wild, MIT 2016

Some more materials have emerged from the ‘Call of the Wild’ symposium that several ConSciCom members participated in. First is a conference report, prepared by Alison Laurence, PhD candidate in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. It’s wonderfully detailed and contains notes on the symposium’s several themed panels: ‘What is Wild?’, ‘Field, Museum and Armchair’, ‘Micro Scale’, ‘Invasion/Impurity’, ‘Stalking the Wild’ and ‘Wildness and Domestication’ as well as a digest of participants comments during and discussions after each paper.

Second is an interview with symposium convener Harriet Ritvo which draws out some of these themes alongside some beautiful images (we really like the aerial photo of New York’s Central Park). Here’s a snippet from the interview:

“Wild” is a very powerful category now, as it has been for many centuries. The emotional or ethical response to this power, however, has recently altered. That is to say, for most of history, to call something “wild” was to express disapproval, but the term has become sufficiently positive for the Shaw’s supermarket chain to brand its “organic” product line as “Wild Harvest,” described on its website as “created, flavored, and colored by nature.” As wildness has come to seem less threatening and more threatened, people have come to like it better.

If you haven’t already heard it, this is the symposium where the audio we posted last month of Berris Charnley speaking about rogues and wildness, was recorded. We’ll be continuing this discussion in 2017, with another event being organised for some point in the summer.

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